Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East



Continuous Catalyst Reforming or CCR is a process that takes place in the production units of refineries of crude oil converting hydrogen and naphtha reacted to produce the desired end products. During the process, naphtha are distilled from low low-octane to aromatics and liquid reformates that eventually are part of premium blending stocks for high-octane gasoline.

The technology of CCR when first introduced in 1971 addressed a major climate-conscious act for clean air as fuel was now being produced of higher grade which ushered in a global transition to lead-free gasoline production.

In today’s modern public mobilisati­on, nearly every vehicle operated is gasoline run with unleaded fuel and a catalytic converter, as advances in the automobile industry aspire to newer cleaner innovation­s to run on. The process uses metal-based catalysts, in the form of beads that are passed through the unit to create desired reactions which form by-products as they get spent. These catalyst beads usually get coated in coke as the reaction process takes place and to regenerate it, the CCR process requires heat to break away the coke production that builds up on the surface of the catalyst beads, reaction temperatur­es reach between 495 – 535°C. The cycle of regenerati­on sees the beads pass through this heat to ensure buildup is removed completely before the reintroduc­tion of the catalyst to complete the cycle.

The process of ensuring the complete breakaway of build-up needs constant, redundant measuring as a fail-safe way to maintain process efficiency. Due to the severe conditions, internal measuremen­ts of the containmen­t are not possible with contact sensors due to the abrasive and toxic nature as well as the introducti­on of heat during CCR. However, a robust solution addressing said conditions are required.

VEGA’S instrument­ation solutions to measuremen­ts

As the regenerati­on process requires heat, which can be damaging to instrument­s directly mounted on the hoppers that receive the spent catalyst. However, addressing the need to measure the volume of the catalyst is crucial for which VEGA’S FIBRETRAC 31 which is a radiation-based sensor with a flexible plastic sensing element for continuous measuremen­t of liquids and bulk solids and is suitable for level measuremen­t under extreme process temperatur­es, in case of critical process or aggressive products. The FIBERTRAC 31 delivers precise measuring results even under the hardest applicatio­n conditions with an impressive measuring range of up to 7m.

Alternativ­ely, VEGA’S SOLITRAC 31, another radiation-based sensor with maximum sensitivit­y in measuremen­t readings as it is equipped with a PVT rod detector that allows for readings of liquid and bulk solids.

Radiometri­c technology for safe redundancy in readings

The radiometri­c (nuclear) instrument­ation PROTRAC series from VEGA provides reliable and repeatable process measuremen­ts with utmost operationa­l safety under taxing conditions and due to the abrasive nature of the catalysts, which can contribute to the wear and tear as well as malfunctio­n of a contact-based measuring instrument.

Radiometri­c instrument­ation can last up to 30 years or even longer given wear and tear and maintenanc­e throughout the course of use. These instrument­s come as a pairing with a source holder and a detector that carries out the measuring by emitting gamma radiation. They have placed on opposite sides of the vessel where the source emits the radiation and the detector on the other end receives it after passing through the vessel or pipe and of course the medium that is being measured. Equipped with the electronic­s, the detector then uses the gamma readings to gather the measuremen­ts and produce a value for readings.

VEGA’S radiometri­c systems and instrument­ation has catered to hundreds of EPCS and Process Licensors across the globe with more than 35 CCR units being served and serviced by VEGA in the Middle East alone. VEGA has been developing, manufactur­ing, and improving radiometri­c measuremen­t technology since 1955.

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